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Real leadership needed to boost education in NM

A Nordstrom department store will never come to New Mexico. Those open in thriving, busy metropolises bursting with high-paying jobs, awesome universities and capital-raising opportunities.

Instead we get the Rack, which might give TJ Maxx some competition.

Our elected officials for years have given us a safe, discount version of leadership.

New Mexico is seen as crime-ridden and poor, and a horrible place to do business, and our wonderful attributes are overshadowed. I constantly wonder when someone will have the courage to attack the root of our problems and do what is best for the state rather than their own political career.

The lack of a great education system is what holds our economy back.

Teachers do not graduate from the University of New Mexico College of Education prepared to teach – ask any principal.

In fact a GPA of only 2.5 is required to apply. The starting salary of a public school teacher is not enough to live on, and why we keep thinking $32,000 per year will attract enough talented graduates to this critical profession baffles me.

The Albuquerque Teachers Federation needs to change its mission from making it impossible to fire people who should not be teaching to recruiting and preparing promising candidates and high-level professional development.

Moving to a year-round schedule would provide stability to the students and their families and be a smarter use of the schools’ taxpayers build and upkeep.

The testing culture makes it an uninspiring place to learn and to teach. Creativity, independence and problem solving are needed and the path the Public Education Department is steering schools towards will do much more harm than good.

There are a lot of people and programs doing wonderful things from charter schools to nonprofits to those educators who really are memorable. But it isn’t enough until the system is changed.

Receiving a great education is all that matters. It will bolster the business climate, reduce crime and drug use, and make this state a place people want to live and thrive.

But until UNM raises its standards and prepares future teachers, we increase salaries for teachers, recruit talented and passionate people to teach our kids, and then get out of their way with constant tests, nothing will change.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I really want a Nordstrom in New Mexico.

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